Trend Watch #3: Advertising Age “Trends To Watch In 2008”

In this Trend WatchI’m taking a closer look at the following article from Advertising Age: “Trends To Watch In 2008” While you can see the full list of ten trends at the bottom of this post, here are the six items that I think are most important for customer experience:

#2) Innovation And Creativity Rule. Excerpt: “Marketers’ ingenuity will continue to expand as the competitive marketplace challenges brands to devise ways to reach their audiences online and via other “out-of-the-box” avenues… Marketers won’t run away from traditional media — but will leverage technology and new media to accentuate message delivery to consumers and customers.”

  • My take: Look for cross-channel marketing to flourish in 2008; infusing traditional campaigns with online, mobile, and social networking interactions. And, since a critical mass of US households have broadband, we’ll also see more video and rich Internet applications making the online experiences more immersive. All of these possibilities will make for a year of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

#3) Digital, Digital, Digital (And Portable Too). Excerpt: “As Steve Ballmer proclaimed at the 2007 ANA Annual Conference, all media ultimately will be created and delivered digitally. Can anyone legitimately argue with that? Naahhh..”

  • My take: Who wants to argue with Steve Ballmer? Not me. Firms can no longer just tack on some online capabilities, they need to integrate digital dimensions within their core offerings. So marketers need to master online infusion, which is one of five disruptive customer experience strategies that I outlined earlier this year.

#4) The Brand Swarm. Excerpt: “Marketers will move decidedly in the direction of DDB CEO Chuck Brymer’s “swarm theory… Marketers that embrace this trend can form consumer brand “advocates” and drive brand loyalty and trust to new heights.”

  • My take: There is definitely a lot of buzz around social networking — and it will continue to grow next year. People, especially younger consumers, want to connect with each other. While it will be tempting to concentrate on the swarm, don’t lose sight of what sparks a swarm — experiences. Make sure that you’re delivering good experiences and quickly recovering from bad ones.

#8) Emergence Of The “Renaissance Marketer.” Excerpt: “These “renaissance marketers” will be part humanist, part psychologist, part anthropologist and part technologist… Cookie-cutter marketing will no longer survive as marketers must take a broader view of the consumer and customer. This includes the need to be socially responsible and to embrace key trends such as green.”

#9) The Power Of Strategic Alignment. Excerpt: “Marketers succeed when brand messages are fully integrated and synchronized across all media channels. That requires strategic alignment — leadership that ties everything together — particularly when the forces of change can potentially pull them apart… In 2008 more CMOs will ensure organizations are strategically aligned.

  • My take: Alignment can’t be limited to media channels. Brands aren’t just the domain of marketing; they need to be “owned” by the entire company. There are two sides to a brand: making promises and keeping promises. All too often firms focus on making promises, which is why they need to focus on this principle of Experience-Based Differentiation: Reinforce brands with every interaction, not just communications.

#10) Privacy, Privacy, Privacy. Excerpt: “In 2008, marketers will become increasingly sensitive to privacy issues. With “digital-intrusion” and identity-theft issues as paramount consumer concerns, marketers must be extraordinarily careful to respect worries of access to private information.

  • My take: Let me add a fourth word to this theme: Privacy. Expect consumers to be hyper-sensitive to anything that looks like a breech to their privacy. So there are three key steps for marketers: 1) protect consumers’ privacy; 2) make it clear to consumers that you are protecting their privacy; and 3) keep protecting consumers’ privacy.

10 Trends To Watch from Advertising Age

Here are all of the trends listed in the Advertising Age article:

  1. Marketers Hit A Rough Patch
  2. Innovation And Creativity Rule
  3. Get Serious About Accountability
  4. Digital, Digital, Digital (And Portable Too)
  5. The Brand “Swarm”
  6. Getting Compensation Right (Please)
  7. Neurological Market Research
  8. Emergence Of The “Renaissance Marketer”
  9. The Power Of Strategic Alignment
  10. Privacy, Privacy, Privacy. 

Also see: Trend Watch #1: The Economist “The World In 2008 (Business) and Trend Watch #2: The McKinsey Quarterly “Eight Business Technology Trends To Watch.” 

The bottom line: Marketers’ formula for success in 2008: Creativity + Customer Insight + Brand Consistency.

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

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